Liga Privada Unico Serie UF-13

The Liga Privada Serie Unico UF-13 is currently a cigar that is primarily being used as an event-only cigar by Drew Estate.   As we will discuss, the UF-13 has its roots back to the Liga Privada T52.  While the UF-13 has been floating around for several months, we still do not know whether or not this will ever be released by Drew Estate or not.   The UF-13 is a part of the Unico Serie concept of the Liga Privada line.  Simply put, the Unico Serie line consists of cigars that are one blend, one vitola.  Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to sample a few UF-13s, and without a doubt, this is a blend that can easily be a solid addition to the Liga Privada family.

First up, a little background on the Liga Privada Unico Serie. The Unico Serie concept was introduced with the Liga Privada Unico Serie Dirty Rat. When that blend was released, Drew Estate President Steve Saka explained the Unico Serie as follows: At this point, we have made 200 or more Liga Privada blends. There are probably 9 or 10 of them so far that are exceptional, however their blends differ from both the No. 9 and the T52 branded cigars. They’re cigars that work as a particular size, such as a lancero or corona, with the blend being unique to that particular vitola.  Unico Serie blends have been introduced with the Liga Privada Dirty Rat, Liga Privada L40 Lancero, Liga Privada Feral Flying Pig, and the Liga Privada A – and these have proved to be popular with cigar enthusiasts.

As mentioned in the introduction, the roots to the Unico Serie UF-13 go back to the Liga Privada T52 blend. There sometimes is some confusion with another Unico Serie blend, the UF4 (currently being offered as a retail exclusive to Casa de Montecristo in Countryside, Illinois).  In this post from BOTL,  Saka explains the origins of how they got to the UF-13 and its relationship with the UF-4
T52-4 was the final head to head blend that was competing internally with T52-3 to become the T52 final blend.

T52-4 was exceptional, in fact JD (Jonathan Drew) and I both liked it a slight bit better, but we were concerned that it tended to overpower some of the nuances in the liga and that we were sacrificing flavors for strength, so we ultimately decided that the T52-3 would be the final T52 blend.

JD for his own smoking pleasure kept having T52-4s made, but we banded them as JD4 so as to not cause confusion in the factory or with those he shared them with.

After he started handing them out, he decided that he didn’t like putting his personal name on the product, so we started ringing them with MF-4 – it stood for what you think it does.

In the factory we kept tinkering with the T52-4/JD4/MF-4 blend to try to improve it (in our opinion) – goal was to keep the octane, but restore the depth of flavors… so we made a variety of minor liga tweaks and vitola changes to try and get it “perfect”.

The result was the MF-13 – a robusto format. I think the MF-13 is better, not sure where JD stands on this – truth is the difference is so very minor between the two cigars I doubt most folks could even tell there was any difference unless they smoked them side by side… and maybe not even then, but we can tell… or so we tell ourselves. ;>

We started sharing both MF-4s and MF-13s at events and out of our pockets and they started to get some buzz online.

JD came to me one day with a My Father cigar and pointed out that Pepin’s rings have an MF in the center of them. How both of us missed this is kinda crazy since we both smoke a lot of their cigars, but we did. So we decided to change the name to UF out of respect – we take pride in not knowingly copying others, so we rebanded all the MFs as UFs on our own accord.

UF stands for “Unico Fuerte.”

So MF-4 = UF-4 and MF-13 = UF-13.

Neither blend is really in testing per se, both are finalized blends. It
just that neither is being produced for retail at this point.

Let’s take a closer look at the Liga Privada Unico Serie UF-13.  Since this is not a cigar that is being produced for retail, we will use a pre-review to share the experiences with this cigar.

Blend Profile

We do not have the specifics on the blend.  As Saka mentioned above, this has its roots to one of the blends being considered for the Liga Privada T52.

Vitolas Available

As with all Liga Privada Unico Serie cigars, there is only only vitola. With the case of the UF-13, while no specific dimensions have been released, this is a robusto cigar – and it appears to be a 5 x 52 size.


The wrapper to the UF-13 sure looks close to a Liga Privada T52 wrapper.  On a recent trip to Nicaragua, Jonathan Drew discussed that he feels texture is more important than color.  While one can argue about the color, the UF-13 does has a similar texture to the Liga Privada T52.   That being said, the UF-13 is a dark brown wrapper with a colorado red tint to it.   The texture to the UF-13 has a slight sandy feel to it.  There are some darker spots to the UF-13 wrapper.  You can see some visible wrapper seams and visible veins.

The band to the UF-13 is a standard Liga Privada Unico Band with black and gold Unico lion logo.  On the band, UF-13 is in a large “handwritten style” text on gray dotted field.  Over the UF-13 text it says “HECHO EXCLUSIVAMENTE PARA EL JEFE… UNICO SERIE”  (which means made exclusively for “El Hefe” – a.k.a. Steve Saka) along top row.  On the bottom row in a larger gray font it says “LA GRAN FABRICA DREW ESTATE S.A”.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my experience with the UF-13, I opted for a straight cut into the cap.   I then proceeded to start the pre-light draw.  The dry draw notes provided a nice mix of coffee, leather, and cedar spice.  Overall, I considered this a very satisfactory pre-light draw.   At this point, it was time to toast the foot of my Liga Privada Unico Serie UF-13 and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Liga Privada Unico Serie UF-13 continues with a similar flavor profile to the pre-light draw with coffee, leather, and a cedary/peppery spice.  Early on, I detected some lemon citrus notes in the background that settled into a the flavor pattern.  I assessed the flavor profile in the first five percent as coffee as the primary note, lemon as the secondary note, and the leather and spice as tertiary.

When the cigar experience reached the five percent mark, the lemon and spice had faded and the flavor profile took on more of a chocolatey profile in the forefront.  The leather notes also began to increase and move toward the forefront.  Around the ten percent mark, the spice soon started to make a comeback.

By the 20 percent mark, I detected some nut flavors in the background.  It was safe to say at this point that the flavor profile was a chocolate/coffee flavor in the forefront with spice, nut, and leather in the background. The spice continued to increase throughout the first half of the cigar experience.

By the final third the nut flavors joined the chocolate and leather in the forefront.  While the spice increased int he second half as well, the spice never quite got overwhelming and it did not overtake the chocolate, nut, and leather flavors.   The close to UF-13 was like a perfect landing of an airplane – it had no harshness, and the nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

The burn and draw of the Liga Privada Unico Serie UF-13 was vintage Liga Privada.  The burn remained straight from start to finish requiring minimal touch-ups.  The UF-13 had an ideal burn rate and ideal burn temperature.   As for the draw, it is very rare I have anything less than an excellent draw with a Liga Privada.  With the UF-13, it holds to form – once again providing a flawless draw.

Burn of the Liga Privada Unico Serie UF-13 (Note: box is for Dirty Rat cigar)

Strength and Draw

I’ve been sampling the UF-13s for the past few months.  The initial UF-13s I sampled had much more in the way of strength from a nicotine perspective.  For the recent UF-13s I smoked, the strength come down a notch and I think that is a positive  I assessed (my aged UF-13s) to be medium to full in the first half.  As the cigar moves into the second half of the cigar experience, it moves to full strength.   The body of the UF-13 follows a similar pattern, starting medium to full in the first half and it moves to full-bodied in the second half.  The nice thing about the strength and body increasing as the cigar smokes is that they both remain in balance from start to finish – i.e. neither attribute overshadows the other.

Final Thoughts

At the start of this pre-review, I mentioned that the UF-13, is a blend that can easily be a solid addition to the Liga Privada family.  I use the Liga Privada T52 as a gold standard of cigars.  It was our 2009 Cigar of the Year, and it was inducted into our Hall of Fame last year.  While I wouldn’t say that the UF-13 is quite at that level, it comes pretty close.  I also think that Saka and his team got it right putting this particular blend into a robusto vitola – because I’m not sure if this would be as effective in another vitola.  This is a cigar I probably would lean toward recommending to a seasoned cigar enthusiast as it is more full in strength and body.  As for myself, if these became available for box purchase, it would be something I would consider.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Excellent

Source: This cigar was provided by Drew Estate Cigars. Cigar Coop is appreciative for
the sample, but in no way does this influence this review.